Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 5 Aesculus flava

Common Names: yellow buckeye, sweet buckeye Family: Hippocastanaceae (horse chestnut Family)

yellow buckeye tree
A yellow buckeye tree with leaves just beginning change color for autumn.


The yellow buckeye is a large deciduous forest tree capable of attaining heights of 60-90 ft (18.3-27.4 m) with 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) diameters. As the tree mature is forms an attractive oblong, rounded crown. It has large, palmately compound leaves with leaflets that are 4-6 in (10-15 cm) long. The yellowish white bell shaped flowers grow in 6 in (15 cm) clusters. and appear in spring. The nuts, called buckeyes or horsechestnuts, are borne in leathery capsules with 1-2 smooth mahogany colored nuts per capsule.

yellow buckeye tree foliage
Horsechestnut leaves turning yellow in fall


The yellow buckeye, Aesculus flava (syn. A. octandra ), is native to the eastern United States. Specifically the Appalachian mountains, from Pennsylvania to northern Georgia and Alabama Most commonly found on rich soil growing in river bottoms and on mountain slopes. It usually occurs as an occasional tree in mixed hardwood stands.


Light: Part sun, tolerant of some shade. Moisture: Moist, well drained. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 - 8. Propagation: Seeds (nuts)


The yellow buckeye tree makes a very ornamental shade tree, especially if provided ample space where it can stretch its limbs forming its beautiful rounded crown that it covers in flowers each spring. In its native range, the wood of this tree is of limited use in the forest products trade for such items as woodenware, toys, and artificial limbs.

A horsechestnut or buckeye is smooth and shiney just after removal from its smooth outer husk.


The seeds of the buckeye are traditionally carried around by people living in the Appalachian Mountains as a good luck charm and were once thought to protect against rheumatism. The large leaves make this an ideal shade tree, turning yellow-brown in the fall. American Indians once used the nuts as food after roasting and soaking to remove poisonous chemicals.

The yellow buckeye is easy to grow, requires litte maintenance and is seldom bothered by pests or disease.


Do not ingest. Young shoots and seeds may be toxic to livestock.

Jack Scheper 8/17/97; updated 10/31/98, 10/29/00, 10/20/04

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Aesculus species profiled on Floridata:

Aesculus flava

( yellow buckeye, sweet buckeye )

Aesculus glabra

( Ohio buckeye,fetid buckeye,Texas buckeye )

Aesculus hippocastanum

( common horsechestnut )

Aesculus parviflora

( bottlebrush buckeye )

Aesculus pavia

( red buckeye )

Aesculus x carnea

( red horsechestnut )

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